The small variation: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that portray a long-standing genealogy and family history. Established by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be a local favored simply because of its standard meals and personable service. Over the years, folks from all around the globe attended on the glamorous bistro to celebrate engagements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and other monumental moments. These days, the 4th and fifth years in the family owns and works 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for okay dinner with a decent old-fashioned household feel, you are able to reserve a table from inside the stunning and passionate dinner rooms in the Columbia eatery.


For the past 3 decades, my loved ones’s preferred holiday destination has been an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Fl. We’ve eliminated indeed there over 12 occasions to build sand castles, area dolphins, and consume tasty meals on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

We’ve completely discovered town’s bistro selection, looking from most useful regional bones around, nonetheless it merely so takes place your one bistro each of us enjoy a lot of is actually within strolling length of one’s lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, attentive service, and mouth-watering food enable it to be our very own go-to area for lunch.

As soon as we were young ones, my moms and dads would order all of us a cheddar pizza pie while they checked out this romantic Spanish bistro by yourself; but we currently enjoy tapas and wine just as much while they do, therefore we’ve started crashing their night out — often taking along dates of our own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though it’s the earliest restaurant in Florida, the company continues to be operated because of the descendants associated with the original president. Every object throughout the menu has actually a tale behind it, and lots of on the meals are passed from one generation from the Hernandez Gonzmart household to the next. Family members practice is a large the main Columbia’s eating plan, record, and method of solution.

“The staff is a bit like household,” stated Michael Kilgore, the main promotion Officer for your Columbia. “a number of our staff members remain for 20 or thirty years. Among the many things we love about our group is just how long they stick with us. They are available here and discover a home.”

You can enjoy this comfy and pleasant atmosphere in your next date night when you go to any of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia eatery at this time acts friends in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or seeing flamenco performers light the period when you take in tapas, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable evening during the Columbia.

In 1905, a Cuban Immigrant went a Saloon That Became a Sensation

The Columbia eatery can trace the history returning to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same time the Wright brothers effectively tested the world’s first plane. Which was when a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began working a saloon for a nearby making company in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner turned the saloon into popular 60-seat cafe known for their genuine Cuban coffee and snacks. After their achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant next door and changed it into a gorgeous dining area. In 1930, their daughter took more than control and procedure on the flourishing restaurant.

Through the Great anxiety, his son Casimiro Jr. created the initial air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. The guy hoped the upscale look and raised party floor would draw individuals the cafe which help them forget about their unique fears for per night. The Don Quixote Room was a winner, plus the Columbia could keep their doorways open while many other organizations collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his just son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established musician who had came across the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, at Tampa bistro. This theatrical pair introduced enjoyment and artistry to your Columbia, developing a showroom that managed a lot of skilled Latin dancers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia extended to Sarasota alongside locations in Fl.

These days, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and kept their family’s company going. Richard Gonzmart has become working at his family’s restaurants since he had been 12 yrs . old, therefore he or she is thoroughly acquainted with the atmosphere and background. Richard can in fact indicate the dining table from the Columbia Restaurant where the guy and his wife had their first date over 43 years back.

“There’s a lot of romance right here, and then we have actually a good tale,” said Michael. “significantly less than 15 restaurants in the us tend to be family-owned and more than 100 years old, so we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Fl’s oldest cafe has actually a proud and enduring background rooted in meals, household, and enjoyable. Michael informed us the fifth generation of this founding family is getting groomed to take control one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in effective administration functions at the restaurants and are usually prepared keep the household heritage going for numerous years into the future.

The Columbia has been recognized with many associated with highest honours in the restaurant industry, including induction into Nation’s eatery News’ “okay eating Hall of Fame,” received the “Distinguished Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “better of Award of quality.”

Look In! A Delectable Menu of Sharable Tapas & Indulgent Desserts

The Columbia eatery establishes a luxurious table and gives an enjoyable getting away from every day life. It seduces your senses as soon as you walk-in the doors. You’re enclosed by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork given that noises of laughter therefore the scents of new fish and shellfish meals waft through the air. Before my personal purchase also gets to me, my personal lips is definitely watering with anticipation. The good news is, each visitor becomes their own freshly made loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, and so I have actually something you should satisfy my tastebuds while I wait.

The 14-page selection is filled with great meals but provides effortless discussion starters for daters simply observing each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat is sold with an enticing explanation and interesting back ground details. Such as, the bistro’s coconut ice cream ended up being a favorite of ice cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd daughter from the initial Columbia president, and after this this sweet dish is actually supported in the honor.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain mixed with hearty veggies) to your shrimp great (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs on Columbia are bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, also known as tapas, get this to restaurant well suited for couples on a night out together since you may come better with each other by discussing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. You can easily generate a budget-friendly food by buying a couple of of the appetizers together — just remember to save place for treat!

The Très Amigos churros would-be a great option for couples because they’re tactile, nice, and just a little dirty. You are able to dip the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s something for everybody. Additionally, Columbia’s signature White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a night out together who has a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog site called the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night areas, encouraging couples to “start out with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, immediately after which discuss an enormous platter for the Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

Your romantic evening will be all more satisfying any time you combine together with your food a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing wine called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and girlfriend.

Plus, at the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is to die for. Severely, it comes down from the glass you could in addition split a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a romantic date to boost the eating experience. Nicely large slices of good fresh fruit float inside wine and infuse it with rich flavors. Whether you’re purchasing this classic sangria or among cafe’s family members wines, the high-caliber products dont let you down.

Michael informed united states the team helps make an endeavor to supply affordable but top quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “the drink option must be completely suited to the food we serve plus selling price,” the guy said.

Many partners & households have actually Shared specialized times Here

When In my opinion from the Columbia, i do believe with the evening we made a decision to have treat for dinner, and my moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. I believe of my twin brother attempting grouper the very first time on our 20th birthday celebration and stating excitedly, “Take my picture” because the guy desired to show his gf (who’s today their partner) that he loved taking in fish as much as she did.

In plenty steps, the Columbia is like the destination, but my loved ones is not the sole family to own made thoughts during that bistro and its particular six sister areas across Fl. Folks arrived at the restaurant after all phases of life as it supplies a unique environment that pairs well with any party.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were constant visitors associated with the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia staff members settled tribute to your pair in addition to loving thoughts they shared at the restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin recommendations, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious indication from the extended reputation of relationship from inside the Columbia’s eating rooms.

Whether you’re happening an initial go out or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will find intimacy and enthusiasm flourish in the gentle candlelight of this Columbia eatery.

“It really is our goals,” Michael stated, “to have people feel as if the Columbia is where to come quickly to commemorate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery offers Family Values on Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The servers, at least at the Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their particular friends and therefore are rapid to state “Welcome right back” to dedicated clients exactly who, like my family, are returning to the stylish eating spaces repeatedly.

This long-standing dinner establishment provides cultivated and changed throughout the many years, nonetheless it has never forgotten about the century-long household origins. Richard provides committed intends to provide diners and daters throughout Fl in years into the future. “our very own holder doesn’t rest,” Michael said with a laugh. “he is always thinking up something totally new.”

The Columbia team intentions to open at least two brand new restaurants for the following years. One will be conveniently found appropriate across the street from original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open up in autumn 2018, will probably pay honor to a small community in Sicily in which most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the authentic selection aims to bring these family members a tasty reminder of house.

Enduring leadership and top quality types make Columbia eatery and all the brother restaurants really great spots where singles and lovers can spend a night together with those they like best.